Writing Tip: Hope and Despair
Hello! Today I wanted to share a writing tip I learned in my fiction class because it’s something that really clicked with me.
The Push and Pull of Hope and Despair
This means always having both hope and despair in a scene. In the moments of hope, the brightest moments, the character should still be experiencing a small sting of despair. In the darkest moments, the moments of despair, there is still a flicker of hope.
Without despair in the hope, there is lack of tension and conflict. Nothing is at unrest. The story might as well stop now, because the character doesn’t feel that painful twinge of conflict even if it’s small. Without hope in the despair, at those incredibly dark moments we will feel the story is too hopeless to be realistically resolved, there will be nothing to drive the protagonist forward.
Despair in the hope keeps the reader going–conflict is what makes a story interesting. Hope in the despair keeps the character going–they need to maintain the possibility of resolution, or at least some sense of hope, in order to remain active and try to achieve their goal.
Think of your story as an interplay of hope and despair. As the protagonist finds moments of hope, the despair fades but never disappears. As they fall into despair, the hope remains a pulse in the background that keeps them moving forward.
There is despair in the hope, and there is hope in the despair. One without the other isn’t satisfying, since it’s their interaction–their push and pull–that drives the story forward.